Southwest Florida diocese offers rebate to congregations

February 20, 2012

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida has decided to refund $175,000 to its 76 congregations.

The decision, Bishop Dabney Smith said in a recent letter to vestries and bishop’s committees, was prompted by nearly 100 percent parish giving to the diocese in 2011.

“We have attained a new culminating point in this ongoing labor towards maintaining a healthy, well-functioning diocese,” Smith said. “In 2011 alone, our congregations prioritized their participation by contributing apportionment on a monthly basis, with all but 2 percent paid by year’s end.”

The diocese normally bases its annual budget in part on up to 10 percent in uncollectable apportionments.

The $175,000 is roughly 75 percent of one month’s assessment, according to a diocesan press release.

The Diocesan Council decided during its January meeting to make a “celebratory, one-time decision to share the joy of this financial reality,” Smith added.

The rebate will be available to any congregation that paid its full assessment for 2011 and congregations have been given until Feb. 29 to pay that amount in full. Congregations must apply for the rebate, which will be calculated based on its percentage of the total operating 2011 apportionment.